Connecting With Nature

Haven’t been outside for a while?  Besides getting a little low on Vitamin D, reports show that infrequent time spent in nature is bad for our emotions, health and weight.

GOOD magazine recently posted an article about nature-deficit disorder, also know as “alienation from the natural world.”  And it’s true: in this digital age, most of us spend our days in offices or our homes, disconnected from the outside environment.  This has implications not only for our wellbeing, but also in how we end up treating the planet.  If we don’t have a chance to understand and intuitively experience our dependence on nature, why would we feel an obligation to protect it?

Work, graduate school and starting a business have kept me in perpetual motion – but mainly indoors, not outdoors.  My pace slowed considerably, however, three weeks ago when my grandfather went in for surgery and shockingly passed away.

Everyone experiences grief differently, but my despair pushed me outside.  I took walks in Golden Gate Park where my grandpa and I used to go when I was younger.  I sat on a bench at Stow Lake and watched life continue around me – turtles sunning themselves, blue jays jumping from branch to branch – and felt some peace towards the order of life.

Image c/o

I also began to bring fresh flowers indoors, which is great if you can’t get outside often.  I just finished reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and have been passionately studying the Victorian meanings of different blossoms.  As my grandpa was dying, I brought a sprig of lilac to his bedside, so that his last breath could be the sweet scent of the flowers he used to patiently grow in his garden.  At his funeral, we chose lilies, baby’s breath, tulips, monkshood and magnolias in lieu of the typical flowers meant for grief, as we wanted to honor his memory with flowers reminiscent of his best qualities – such as chivalry and dignity.  And as the casket was lowered into the ground, we tossed beautiful red roses symbolizing our love.

Though the actual meaning of the flowers is probably debatable, part of the fascination we hold for these ethereal blossom lies within the significance we bestow on them as well as the feeling of awe we experience in contemplating their perfect design.  Look closely at a flower and you can begin to understand the magic of the whole natural world and why it is so sacred.

My favorite flower – the gerber daisy – is pretty much in-season all year long in California.  A single stalk has been placed next to my grandfather’s picture to help me get through this difficult time.  Luckily I’ve learned that nature can help soothe emotions. And it’s an extra bonus that gerber daisies mean cheerfulness, something he undeniably had.


  1. Love you Sasha!

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